Since the day I resurrected Tom Newman's old traditional marriage board a few years ago, one question has emerged in private and public conversation: after many decades of marriage, why do I still find it necessary to spank my wife. (It is a variation of the old “do you still beat your wife?” accusation.)
Another recurring question is why did I start or, in variation, why does she let me? Then, there is that recurring question about children.
The first real spanking that I gave my wife was before we were married. It was for playing a little two-faced game.
That was, it turned out, the first time anyone had spanked her hard enough to let her know that they really meant business! I reportedly left quite visible marks even through a wool dress. No one had ever done that to her before. She was furious.
While she refused to speak to me for three days thereafter, she later concluded that, not only was it something that her father should have done, it was really what she wanted in a man. The problem was that it had hurt worse than she thought it should – which is why she had thoroughly inspected the damage!
We have never had formal house rules as such. Neither my wife nor I wanted the type of marriage that our parents had (neither of our mothers was spanked and it showed on occasion) and, independently before we began dating, we reached the conclusion that discipline needed to be a part of any permanent relationship into which we entered – either jointly or severally.
Originally, spanking was primarily used to either set our marriage back on track or prevent things from getting too far out of kilter. For both of us, the marriage was a commitment rather than a disposable diversion. It was something we wanted.
At various points in time, my wife has admitted that her life would have been a mess if she had not married a man who could handle her. Like many women, she wanted a man who was not only good to her, but good for her.
Although, I have spanked for lying, stubbornness, and disobedience, I have never spanked for dirty dishes in the sink. Those, I will wash before I spank her over them. Likewise, the vacuum cleaner fits my hand as well as it does hers.
From the early beginnings, discipline in our house has evolved into a cleansing. And, that is what it is today – a catharsis. Over the past couple of decades, we have found the desirable frequency to be about once or twice a month.
Although she expects any spanking to get through, my wife left the decision-making up to me as to when and how – even over her objections. Sometimes she has been disciplined three times in one day!
The “thermometer,” as she calls it, which triggers a spanking is the palpable tension within her buttocks. It is quite accurate. Although she can feel the stress building, she expects me to discover the problem and provide the necessary remedy.
One of the curious things we have discovered over the years is that, even through menopause and the various problems of post-modern life, those all-important little numbers from her various physical exams and lab tests have remained in the normal range. She and I both believe that the usual tensions of daily life are not allowed to accumulate for long periods of time in her system before being purged.
Probably our biggest secret has been that we never really made a big deal out of domestic discipline – we just did it and went on with our lives. Meanwhile, it seems, those who do make a big deal out of it are those who do not practice it – especially if they suspect they should be.
Sometimes, not making a big deal out of it can mean being accidentally discovered. Years ago, despite living in a rather large old house, we were discovered by our oldest when we failed to close the door long after bedtime.
Instead of blaming the child's curiosity, we took the time to honestly explain what was happening, why it sometimes needed to be done, and gave assurances of our love. Then, we asked to be left alone and the child obliged.
While we were closely watched over the next several days, our interaction seemed to satisfy any lingering doubts.
From that experience, especially as other parents got divorces and their children shared their grief with ours, I came to the conclusion that children understand spanking much better than they do acrimony and divorce.
Later, our children admitted that our marriage was a rock of stability in their lives. It was something on which they could count.
In reflection, I am not wholly convinced that discovering that their mother gets spanked is the worst thing that can happen to children. In the context of a loving family, it might prove to be beneficial.
One benefit in our family was that our need to discipline declined. The word was out. Not even being a grown-up made bottoms safe!
I totally agree with all aspects of the article. I am a 45 year old professional. My wife and I have been married for 18 yrs. We agreed prior to our marriage that dicipline, when needed, would be administered to insure the integrity of the marriage. Spankings are administered as a last resort when resolving marital discord. There is nothing sexually arousing about it for my wife or me.
For my wife, a spanking is as much a psychological thing as a physical one. It represents her giving up control and submitting to my authority as head of the house. Like the author, I have never spanked my wife for dirty dishes or the like. I have spanked her for deliberately disobeying me, for being disrespectful to me, for countermanding directions I have given to our children, and for lying to me. We have found that the most effective spankings are the ones in which I turn her over my knee. She is spanked on her bare behind with my hand or a small wooden ping pong paddle. If she tries to resist or fight me, I tighten my grip on her and spank harder. We both believe that in order for her to completely give up control,she must cry during the spanking. In 18 years of marriage I have spanked my wife 7 times. We feel that our marriage is stronger becaude we incorporate this system of dicipline into it.
We have two teenage children and like the author have had to explain things to them. Our eldest son came out of his room late one night to use the bathroom. He was about 6 at the time. My wife was in the den crying. he asked her why she was crying and she explained to him that sometimes grownups do things that they shouldn't and have to be punished for it. He pressed her for more information so she told him that we were having a disagreement and that she had lost her temper and slapped Daddy and he had given her a spanking. He took the information with a grain of salt went back to bed and did not mention it the next day or since.While I would no more consider spanking my wife in front of my kids than I would making love with her, we do not hide the fact from them. Honesty and openness are the only ways to be in a family.
I would like hear from other couples who use domestic discipline to promote marital harmony.